Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is well and truly out in the wild now, giving players a brand new setting to carve up unsuspecting enemies into various pieces.
As the name suggests, Valhalla is all about Vikings, putting you into the shoes of a warrior named Eivor, who you can choose to be a man or woman. Set in 873 AD, Eivor and brother Sigurd lead their clan of Vikings to England in search of a new home to escape the war and overcrowding of Norway. To survive, they must go head to head with the kingdoms of Wessex, Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia.
As the AC series has progressed over the years, many gameplay elements have changed. Valhalla is certainly no different, with tons of new features to set it well apart from its predecessors. On top of that, the Dark Ages of England look phenomenal on the Xbox Series X.
Here are five big changes in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
When you arrive in England, your home base is a settlement known as Ravensthorpe. A home away from home, if you will. It starts out as a collection of tents but tasks you with upgrading it as you go, eventually making it a small bustling community.
Investing in specialised buildings for your settlement will grant you their perks. A Blacksmith, for example, will provide you with a place to upgrade gear, while a cartographer’s hut will give you access to special maps.
If you fancy getting all tatted up, you can do that as well. Just build the tattoo and barbershop to customise your hair and adorn your skin with Nordic tough stickers under the same roof. Hygenic!
Unlike previous AC titles, Valhalla is less about being a loner and more about working with your Viking brethren to pound enemies into the dirt. This is most evident in the new Raids system.
You see, building your settlement requires resources and although there are plenty of ways to gather them out in the wild, they’re not nearly as fun as raiding the hell out of a village and simply taking theirs. Of course, if you prefer the stealthy approach, you’re more than welcome to take it, but now, approaching an enemy village will present a raid option which lets you blow a big horn to summon your pals for some good ol’ fashion pillaging.
You’ll need to advance together, too. Being left alone with 3 or more enemies can prove lethal, so it’s good to have some backup handy. Speaking of which…
Your health bar no longer regenerates on its own, meaning you’ll need to keep a keen eye on it at all times.
Rather than buggering off behind a rock until you’re ready to have another crack, you’ll need to find and eat food to restore your health. Luckily, you’ll be able to find berries, mushrooms and other food sources as you explore the world and once your health bar is maxed out, you’ll start storing rations in your inventory, which is super helpful if you need a quick health boost during battles.
It’s bloody brutal, mates. The finishing moves you can pull off in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are wild, including head stomping, decapitations and big stabs, just as the real Vikings did.
Eivor can also dual wield weapons, allowing the character to deal out double the carnage during fights. As you level up your skills and abilities, you’ll be able to increase the size of the weapons you can dual wield until you’re swinging around two axes that are as tall as you.
On top of all that, weapons can be upgraded to change both their stats and appearance, the latter of which is great if looking slick while slicing people up is your jam.
I kid you not, you can engage in the Viking version of rap battles known as flyting, which was a real thing back in the Viking days.
Just like the modern-day rap battles we know and love, flyting involves exchanging witty remarks to insult your opponent while rhyming like a champ. Let me tell you, it’s a real treat, especially when you win.
It’s part of a whole suite of new mini-games that showcase Norse culture which, of course, includes guzzling massive amounts of mead among activities like relaxing cairn building, which is stacking rock towers as high as possible.
There’s plenty to do in Assasin’s Creed Valhalla, folks. Go forth and slay, now available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. Game and console sold separately.Image: Ubisoft